US Virgin Islands to Create New Territorial Parks System

US Virgin Islands to Create New Territorial Parks System

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. (photo via SandraFoyt / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

The United States Virgin Islands announced on Tuesday it had created a new territorial parks system that protects more than 30 areas from commercial development and reserves them for tourism activities.

Governor Albert Bryan Jr. signed legislation that formed the Territorial Park System and revised a Territorial Park System Trust Fund Board, which will manage and acquire land and recreational areas and implement the Maroon Sanctuary Zone on the West End of St. Croix.

The signing ceremony was held at Government House on St. Croix, with Governor Bryan saying the Territorial system is similar to the National Park Service, which has protected the Caneel Bay Trail, the Christiansted Fort and other landmarks in the Virgin Islands.

“Nothing gives me more pleasure than to set up a parks system that will determine a legacy of preservation for all Virgin Islanders to see in perpetuity,” Governor Bryan said. “There are so many pieces of land in the Virgin Islands, whether St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix or Water Island, that we want to see preserved in perpetuity. To do that, what we needed to do was create the Territorial Parks System of the Virgin Islands.”

The legislation allows the Government of the Virgin Islands to take more than 30 properties and put them into the Territorial Parks System to be reserved for beaching, recreation, hiking trails, nature preserves and parks protected from commercial development.

Governor Bryan said his administration is investing in the territory’s people, infrastructure and future through transparency, stabilizing the economy, restoring trust in the government and ensuring that recovery projects are completed as quickly as possible.

Last month, U.S. Virgin Islands commissioner of tourism Joseph Boschulte said the popular destination is poised “to continue to effectively grow the tourism business” in 2023. In addition, he said the territory’s cruise industry is “projected to see a sharp increase in calls in fiscal year 2023 [with] over 450 calls and almost 1.4 million passengers.”

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